Local pastor on duty in D.C. today

January 19, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- Just back from a year's deployment in Iraq, the Rev. Clark Carr has drawn another high-profile assignment -- providing support during Tuesday's presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Hagerstown, Carr also is a lieutenant colonel with the 2/110 field artillery of the Maryland National Guard, serving as the brigade chaplain.

"I'm downtown in a federal office building," Carr said by telephone at 3:45 p.m. Monday. He said he and other members of his unit were to be housed and fed there.

Carr is one of 10,000 National Guard members deployed for the historic event, making this the largest-ever contingent of Guard members and women to serve in the district for the historic event.


"Our mission is to provide support wherever it is needed," Carr said. "I'm to team up with the troops along the route."

Carr said he and his unit got wind of the call-up just before Christmas.

The Guard members are coming from 26 states and territories, including Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

The military is supporting the 2009 presidential inauguration with a variety of unique capabilities, including medical support, consequence management planning and expertise, logistics support, military working dogs and ceremonial support through the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee.

As they have since the 1800s, the D.C. Army and Air National Guard will have 180 marchers in the inaugural parade.

The Guard members will also be supporting local authorities with crowd management, traffic control and emergency services operations.

Citizen-soldiers and airmen are providing communication, transport, traffic control, and medical and logistical support, as well as playing music and marching in the inaugural parade.

About 2,000 Virginia and Maryland Guard forces are supporting law enforcement and transportation agents in traffic flow, communications, transportation, feeding the forces and training for street operations.

Established every four years at the direction of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee is a joint service organization that coordinates military ceremonial participation and support of inaugural events.

While serving in Iraq, Carr was chaplain of the 58th Infantry Brigade Combat Team stationed about 15 miles from the heart of downtown Baghdad.

Carr, who has been a member of the Maryland National Guard for about 23 years, oversaw about 10 chapels there, supporting soldiers' religious and moral needs.

He returned home to Hagerstown to his wife and five children in April 2008.

Expecting to be back in Hagerstown by Wednesday, Carr said he hopes to have time to prepare his sermon for Sunday during lulls in the inaugural activities.

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